Royal welcome back: Infante erupts, fuels KC

Second baseman drives in 7, falls triple shy of cycle in first start since Sept. 6

Royal welcome back: Infante erupts, fuels KC

CLEVELAND -- Just last weekend, Mike Moustakas set a Royals franchise mark with nine RBIs in a game. On Thursday, second baseman Omar Infante, who hasn't started a game since Sept. 6, tried to break that record.

Infante set a career high with seven RBIs in the Royals' 8-4 win over the Indians. He started with a three-run homer and followed that with a two-run double and a two-run single.

Alas, when Infante came up in the ninth, he had no one on to drive in.

"I was rooting for him to get the record," Moustakas said. "Dang."

Must C: Infante's huge day

All Infante had to shoot for in the ninth was the cycle. He made a bid at the needed triple with a hard liner to right-center, but center fielder Abraham Almonte ran it down to end the inning and Infante's shot at some history.

"It felt good. It was good for us to get a win," Infante said of the Royals, whose magic number to clinch the American League Central dwindled to six by the end of the night.

It was especially rewarding for Infante, who was recently benched in favor of Ben Zobrist, who has taken over for the most part at second base.

"It's really hard," Infante said. "But you have to work hard to stay strong. You work in case you get the opportunity.

"When they need me, I'll be ready."

Infante's biggest hit of the night was his first, when he took Corey Kluber deep with two on, giving the Royals a 3-0 lead they didn't relinquish. Infante at first had thought about sacrifice bunting early in the at-bat -- like he did later during the fourth inning with a runner on second and none out.

But Kluber decided to come in hard with a fastball, and Infante was ready.

"I was looking inside fastball," Infante said. "With the bunt, you want to throw hard inside. I was ready for it and put a good swing on it."

Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.